After the roaring success of its inaugural weekend last summer, Pop Up Screens is finally back with a fantastic line up of outdoor, open-air weekend screenings throughout the summer around London.
Last May saw Ravenscourt Park in Hammersmith play host to three nights of pure cinematic gold, all screened to huge crowds in the park. On Friday Ron Burgundy and his boys held court over the park as audiences quoted their way through Anchorman. Saturday we braved the elements to watch The Dude try and solve the mystery of the missing Bunny Lebowski. The Big Lebowski’s tipple – The White Russian – was also on sale at the bar. While on Sunday we feasted on Twinkies as a warm, starless night provided the perfect atmosphere for Ghostbusters.
This year, however, Pop Up has upped the ante and are putting on 7 weekends of film fun. Watching films on a giant inflatable screen under the stars in a park with a beer and a burger – what more could you ask for?
On the 6th of July they’re returning to the scene of last year’s success – Ravenscourt Park – and kicking off the season with Mike Judge’s (Beavis and Butt Head) cult 90’s film Office Space. It’s an interesting and bold choice to start the season; it’s a niche film in England despite the cast of Jennifer Aniston, Ron Livingston and Gary Cole. That said, the film is so succinct, humorous, quotable and above all relatable, with an instant empathetic hook – it’s about a guy who decides he just can’t take his annoying, mundane office job anymore and just stops giving a shit – that anyone who sees it will walk away feeling they have found an undiscovered gem. It really is the perfect antidote to the office blues and the perfect way to kick start the weekend. Saturday’s film is Chris Morris’ controversial Four Lions before some Bowie magic with Labyrinth closes the weekend.
Two weeks later, Pop Up shifts to the other side of London as Hilly Fields in Lewisham plays host. Anchorman returns for the Friday, and another old favourite, Ghostbusters closes the weekend, before everybody’s favourite misanthropic teenage loser Napoleon Dynamite seeks to thrill audiences with his nunchuck skills, bow hunting skills, sign language skills and sweet dance steps.
Week three sees Pop return to West London, where Wormwood Scrubs Park (it’s a lot nicer than the name suggests) will play host to the 80’s ‘every-teenage-boys-fantasy-realised’ film Weird Science, Richard Ayoade’s idiosyncratic debut feature Submarine, and on Sunday, three time Male Model of the year Derek Zoolander faces off against his arch-rival and imposter to the crown Hansel, in Ben Stiller’s wonderful comedy Zoolander. I personally can’t wait to see this one on the big screen again.
The weekend of the 17th of August sees ‘Pop’ going to the southernmost point of the tube line, to take over Morden Hall Park. On Friday Liam Neeson is off to France in a desperate search for his daughter and to wreak bloody vengeance on the men who have kidnapped her. It is of course Pierre Morel’s somewhat surprising 2008 smash hit Taken, which has launched Neeson back into the limelight and propelled him as a bona fide action star. Saturday sees the return of The Dude to ‘Pop’. Hopefully this time the rain stays away, but either way, in the spirit of the dude, I suspect there will be plenty of us who ‘abide’ the weather to experience arguably the Coen’s masterpiece. And on Sunday it’s back to the 80’s for the ultimate ‘how to’ guide for taking a day off school. Matthew Broderick is your guide in Ferris Bueller’s Day Off.
The next stop is Fulham on the weekend of the 31st, where Bishop’s Park sees a trilogy of modern movies. Friday sees the interesting if confused Scott Pilgrim fighting through the seven evil exes of the object of his affections. Saturday things get violent with David Fincher’s Fight Club, before Sunday gets weird and wonderful with Donnie Darko. This is one that I can’t wait to experience outdoors. Darko captures a sense of time and place and creates a tone and atmosphere like few other movies manage.
The penultimate stop sees North London finally treated to ‘Pop’; Kilburn’s Grange Park kicks off on the 7th of September with one of the ultimate movies to watch outdoors, Dazed and Confused. Another underappreciated film here in Blighty, it charts the final day at a high school in 1976 and the misadventures of disparate groups of outgoing and incoming students. Saturday night the high school theme continues – albeit tenuously – with assassin Martin Blank returning to his hometown to carry out a hit on a weekend that coincides with his ten year high school reunion. Grosse Point Blank, which stars John Cusack Minnie Driver, Dan Aykroyd and Alan Arkin is another underappreciated gem. This is followed by ‘a need, a need for speed’, as Tom Cruise takes to the sky with a little help from Kelly McGillis in Tony Scott’s Top Gun on Sunday. Bring a wing man or woman with you and relive this 80’s classic.
Finally on the weekend of the 14th of September, when we’ll hopefully be enjoying an Indian Summer, Pop Up returns to Ravenscourt to close the season with three very distinctive films. On Friday it’s Kevin Smith’s critically slammed follow up to his brilliant debut Clerks – Mallrats, which has gained cult status in recent years. Saturday’s film is Besson’s best, Leon, with Jean Reno, Gary Oldman and Natalie Portman all on devastatingly good form in this gritty, buddy movie from 1994. And to close the season in style, fire up the flux capacitor and gun the Delorean to 88 mph, because we’re going back to 1955 with Marty McFly to save his parents’ marriage. It’s Back to the Future!
With a line up like this, you guarantee laughter, chills, thrills and absolute cinematic satisfaction. Now all we have to hope for is sunshine.
Tickets cost £8 per film. There are also weekend and season tickets available. All information available at http://www.popupscreens.co.uk/